Lit Crawl LA 2016

Lit Crawl LA 2016
Last night I crawled the streets of North Hollywood with a few hundred other book fiends for the Lit Crawl LA 2016. Last year I heard about it two days after it was over, so this year I planned ahead. (By the way, if you missed it, consider signing up for my LitLifeLA email update – it goes out every Monday with a list of the week’s upcoming literary events in Los Angeles.)

I started at Blastoff Comics for a reading titled Weird and Wicked. My friend from way back, Laura Bahr, performed with five other authors. The whole thing was really well organized, and each reading only took about 5 minutes, leaving us plenty of time to make our leisurely way to the next venue.

The last reading I attended was a poetry reading hosted by Red Hen Press of Pasadena. Sometimes, when I’m working on a fiction project, I like to go to poetry readings and just let the imagery wash over me. I find I walk away inspired every time, and last night’s readers didn’t disappoint.

All in all, the night was everything I had hoped it would be. Five out of five stars. I spent a couple hours at the after party talking to new writer friends, and catching up with some familiar faces I hadn’t planned on seeing. I got to bed waaaay too late, and slept through my 5am writing wake-up call, but it was worth it.

They don’t have a date for next year yet, but keep in touch and I’ll make sure the word gets out.

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Beta Readers

beta readersI am very close to done with what I expect to be the penultimate draft of my novel. Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but at this point I feel like I’ve learned enough about writing that my declaration of being almost done is backed by a fair amount of experience. It is time to bring in the beta readers. Continue Reading →

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Keep Focused with a Writing Punch List

writing punch listIn a recent post, John Fox, of the BookFox blog, wrote about the challenges of self-editing. His very first bit of advice is to isolate the various elements of your manuscript and address each one in turn. In other words, do a pass looking only at your dialogue. Then do another where you only worry about diction. I have found this to be a very effective method for editing. The only trouble is that it’s easy to get distracted. Continue Reading →

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NaNoWriMo 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. At least, not really. And I’ve been losing sleep over whether I should join up for NaNoWriMo 2016.

Previous NaNoWriMo Fails

The main reason I’ve never participated is that, since I’ve been aware of the challenge, I’ve been trying to finish this damn novel and I was hesitant to start something new. Continue Reading →

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The Elevator Pitch

elevator pitchIn the time since I started my novel, I have honed my elevator pitch. After eight years working on it, I thought I was getting pretty good at it. Every time someone asked “so, what’s your novel about?” I practiced giving them the short version. But turns out – I’ve been doing it wrong.

Here’s what I usually say: It’s a story about a young woman who inherits her grandfather’s ostrich farm in the mojave.

Short, sweet, to the point. But from what I learned at the WOTS conference last weekend, plot is only half of it. And it’s the least important half. I’ve left out the emotional story entirely. How did I not realize this? Continue Reading →

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Deciding Where to Put Chapter Breaks

chapter breaksWith just a month to go before I finish what I expect will be the last draft of my novel, I’m starting to think about where to put my chapter breaks.

My Story

Then story I’m telling on is pretty straight forward. The time period of the story is about two weeks in the lives of the characters. I don’t jump around. I don’t change locations or eras. I don’t have a prologue or epilogue. I’ve written it from start to finish, saying everything I want to say in (what will hopefully be) about 80,000 words. I have always intended to put in chapter breaks, but just haven’t really gotten around to it.

Next month, when I hand it over to a few trusted readers for feedback, I want the experience of reading it to be as novel-like as possible. So I plan to insert the chapter breaks before I send it out. I’m just not sure where to put them.  Continue Reading →

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My Time at Write on the Sound 2016

Write on the Sound 2016

I just got back from attending the Write on the Sound 2016 conference, about 15 miles north of Seattle in Edmonds.

I will admit to being a little skeptical. My dad and I chose the conference because it was conveniently located – quite possible the worst reason to choose a writing conference. I flew into Spokane, he picked me up and we had a little road trip out to Seattle where we stayed with some dear friends.

But it turns out, WOTS is a pretty great little conference. I say little. There were about 200 people there. My dad felt like it was huge. But the last conference he went to was the Idaho Writers Conference, which had about 50 people. The last conference I went to was AWP which had about 1200 attendees. So I guess “small” comes down to perspective. Continue Reading →

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Write on the Sound

I am super excited to report that tomorrow morning, bright and early, I am hopping on a plane to the great northwest for the Write on the Sound conference just outside Seattle. I’m actually flying into Spokane, and my dad is picking me up there as he drives west from northern Idaho. It’s a double whammy of writing time and dad time.

My Pops

Adventures of a Helicopter Pilot - Write on the SoundIn case you don’t know, my dad published his first book, a memoir, couple years ago: The Adventures of a Helicopter Pilot: Flying the H-34 helicopter in Vietnam for the United States Marine Corps. He worked on it for years and years, and the reception has been so great that he’s been inspired to write the sequel about his time as a helicopter pilot in Air America. Writing has become one of the main things we talk about, and so we figured it was time to go to a conference together.  Continue Reading →

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